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Ben Turok remembered as a 'giant' of the liberation struggle

Professor Ben Turok died on Monday at the age of 92.

FILE: ANC stalwart Professor Ben Turok. Picture: @IfaaCT/Twitter

CAPE TOWN - The late African National Congress (ANC) veteran and anti-apartheid activist Professor Ben Turok has been remembered as an ANC Member of Parliament who was outspoken when it was not fashionable to do so.

Turok, who died on Monday at the age of 92, was an MP from 1995 to 2014. His family said he was always outspoken and dedicated his whole life to fighting for freedom, equality, and social justice in South Africa.

He found himself in hot water with the governing party when he refused to vote in favour of the Protection of State Information Bill in 2013.

Speaking to 702 in 2017, Turok said he was too independent to vote for the bill and was not worried about losing his parliamentary seat.

Reacting to his death, the ANC said the party encouraged its members to be independent like Turok.

“Throughout this life, comrade Turok was unwavering, vocal and unambiguous in his commitment to the freedom of the people of South Africa. He used his literary works, from editing the ANC’s _Sechaba _magazine, the more than 19 books he authored to his journal, the New Agenda, to drive and propagate the progressive policies for social and economic justice,” ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule said in a statement.

He added: “The ANC lowers its revolutionary banner in honour of an outstanding veteran of our struggle and sends its condolences to the Turok family. The ANC and South Africa are much poorer for the loss of this giant of our struggle who, until his very last days continued to follow the dictates of his conscience, remaining a vocal and faithful member of our movement.”

Listen to John Robbie’s interview with Professor Ben Turok on 702: